Nostalgic Cummins ready for derby
Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins is ready to turn the clock back with a good old-fashioned mudbath in this evening's Super League derby with Castleford Tigers at Odsal's Provident Stadium.
The recent thaw has left a heavy pitch and Cummins, the 36-year-old former Leeds Rhinos winger who played in the old winter era before the switch of seasons in 1996, admits he has to change his tactics to combat the difficult conditions.
"If you are playing in those sorts of conditions, then that's when your forwards earn their money and your kickers too," he said.
"It does put another angle on the game and you have to make sure you win all the little battles.
"It may be that all the patterns you have worked on in training don't come off and you just have to find another way to play, which is intriguing in itself.
"It can affect the spectacle really and it might not be too much like Super League and summer rugby but often it just has to go back to old-fashioned mud and guts."
Castleford will have their tails up after ending an eight-match losing run with a dramatic win over champions Leeds Rhinos last Sunday.
They have lost England star Rangi Chase to suspension but coach Ian Millward has brought in Warrington Wolves half-back Gareth O'Brien as a stop-gap replacement and Cummins is anticipating a close-fought contest.
"We always have tough games against Castleford and in a lot of ways I think we are very similar in where we are as clubs at the moment," he said.
"Although they have been able to bring in seven or eight players they, like us, have not got the biggest squad.
"Their starting line-up, like ours, is very strong and, again like us, they have some young players in there and they will be tested, as we will, throughout the season.
"They have brought some good professionals in there who will be able to help the young players who may well have to play as the season progresses."